Advice needed - fitting Chinese heater...

PetiteFleur

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There has been enough said in the past on here and other forums etc about these Chinese heaters so advice only please.
The 5kW heater is on a test rig and been working for a fortnight on and off heating my workshop(exhaust out the door), running on heating oil. I used 5l of heating oil in 18hrs mainly on low to medium heat.
I've read the Eberspacher installation guide but have the following questions:-
Supplied 10l tank will probably be fitted in the cockpit locker, on a swing out board so can be easily filled. To be fitted with an on/off tap. Heater will be fitted in the stern behind the steering gear on the transom. Four outlets, stern cabin, saloon, heads & fore cabin.
I'll run it on heating oil - can I assume this is legal? (although I do have a fuel tank dip tube but more complicated run).
1) Fuel pipe - can I use the supplied plastic tube or should this be copper tube? not mentioned in the guide. Will be run through side locker and rear cabin under berth lockers, not through engine space.
2) Power cable - from comments it appears the power cable to the battery is undersized, the guide suggests 4mm² for up to 5m combined run and 6mm² for longer. I've got some 2.5mm² which I assumed would be sufficient - the run will be about 8m overall length(but not measured accurately yet). Run from domestic batteries, 2 x 90ah new leisure batteries.
3) Do I need to fit the small inline filter as supplied? According to one site NOT suitable for marine installations. I would have fitted it between tank and tap but maybe after the tank is better?
4) I'm going to insulate all the ducting where possible.
5) I'm also going to fit an on/off switch in the power line to the heater.

Any other suggestions welcome.
 

NormanS

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Items 1 and 5.

1. Why would it not be legal to run a heater on "heating oil"? I think they are designed to run on diesel, but I run my Eber on kerosene, and it's happy with that. Dunno about your's.
2. When shutting off, these heaters must go through their shutting off programme, so that they get a chance to cool slowly. If you install an on/off switch, be careful that neither you, nor anyone else uses it to shut off the heater.
 

Pete7

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Doesn't heating oil have a different cetane from diesel? may not be a problem in a heater.

Our ST2000 draw something like 9A on start up for the first few minutes (fan plus heating widget). It would be a shame to under spec the battery cables and then have lots of starting problems before you finally do it properly.

We fitted the supply from our main tank using the thin plastic pipe, but if you are worried you could run it inside some plastic water pipe. Fitted the small filter and not had a problem in 3 years. Still looked clean a couple of months ago.

Insulation is good. Ours has a 4m run, without insulation you can place your hand in front of the vent, with insulation its too hot for more than a second or two.

Webasto does a 3 or 4 minute shut down routine when switched off from the temperature controller, Chinese version may be similar.

Fuel pump has to be bled by pulses, so tap the positive wire on the connection dozens of times to pull the fuel through the plastic pipe. Also mount the fuel pump on a rubber base because if its like the Webasco/Ebber ones they are noisy as hell and can be heard throughout a GRP hull.
 
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Ammonite

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Doesn't heating oil have a different cetane from diesel? may not be a problem in a heater.

Our ST2000 draw something like 9A on start up for the first few minutes (fan plus heating widget). It would be a shame to under spec the battery cables and then have lots of starting problems before you finally do it properly.

We fitted the supply from our main tank using the thin plastic pipe, but if you are worried you could run it inside some plastic water pipe. Fitted the small filter and not had a problem in 3 years. Still looked clean a couple of months ago.

Insulation is good. Ours has a 4m run, without insulation you can place your hand in front of the vent, with insulation its too hot for more than a second or two.

Webasto does a 3 or 4 minute shut down routine when switched off from the temperature controller, Chinese version may be similar.

Fuel pump has to be bled by pulses, so tap the positive wire on the connection dozens of times to pull the fuel through the plastic pipe. Also mount the fuel pump on a rubber base because if its like the Webasco/Ebber ones they are noisy as hell and can be heard throughout a GRP hull.

If you have one of the Chinese heaters with the LCD display it gives you the option to prime the pump without running the heater
 

Spirit (of Glenans)

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Some domestic heating boilers, e.g. mine, are designed to run on kerosene, some on Marked Gas Oil i.e Red Diesel, as do boat engines. Ergo if you continue to fill up with MGO you can run your boat heater from your boat's fuel tank. However, if you comply with current legislation you will have some form of unmarked gas oil in your main tank and it will be more economical to have a separate supply of marked (rebated) oil for your heater.
 

pvb

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I'd think that having a swing-out 10 litre fuel tank is going to be a real pain, as well as a source of smells from spillages during refuelling. Remember that a 5kW heater burns about 0.6 litres an hour, so you're going to be refuelling fairly often. Repeated swing-out operations are going to ultimately cause wear to the plastic piping. As you already have a dip tube in your fuel tank, why not take it from there? It might be a more complicated run, but it'll probably end up quicker than crafting a swing-out 10 litre tank. Or are you trying to save a few pennies by running it on heating oil?

You can use the plastic piping; as it's going through locker space I'd suggest running it in rigid conduit for protection.

Don't be tempted to skimp on the wiring, it'll need at least 6mm² if the total run is 8 metres (ie 4 metres to the batteries).

It is certainly a good idea to fit a fuel filter.

Rather than have a separate on/off switch, why not simply wire the heater to your main isolator switch? You'll need a fuse in the cable close to the isolator switch.
 

PetiteFleur

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Update & a couple of answers. I understand that kerosene runs much better than diesel in these heaters(and I have a few cans of kerosene available) I used kerosene for the testing - 18hrs and out of curiosity I dismantled it this afternoon and it was remarkably clean, I was surprised after reading how some coke up quickly, particularly if not run flat out for a few minutes before shutdown.
pvb - Wiring, I'll go for 6mm as suggested and running the tubing through conduit is a good idea. Fuel tank - one was supplied and thinking of using this tank with kerosene, it would only swing out a few inches to get at the filler cap, and then clipped back against the bulkhead. I'll look again at fitting the dip tube in the main diesel tank(I've been using road diesel for years now).
Thanks everyone - giving me food for thought. I'm going to the boat in the next few days and look at the options mentioned.
 

superheat6k

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There has been enough said in the past on here and other forums etc about these Chinese heaters so advice only please.
The 5kW heater is on a test rig and been working for a fortnight on and off heating my workshop(exhaust out the door), running on heating oil. I used 5l of heating oil in 18hrs mainly on low to medium heat.
I've read the Eberspacher installation guide but have the following questions:-
Supplied 10l tank will probably be fitted in the cockpit locker, on a swing out board so can be easily filled. To be fitted with an on/off tap. Heater will be fitted in the stern behind the steering gear on the transom. Four outlets, stern cabin, saloon, heads & fore cabin. I HAVE DRAWN THE FUEL THROUGH THE CAP AS THIS REMOVES ENTIRELY THE RISK OF A LOW LEVEL LEAK FROM A CHEAP TANK.
I'll run it on heating oil - can I assume this is legal? YES (although I do have a fuel tank dip tube but more complicated run).
1) Fuel pipe - can I use the supplied plastic tube or should this be copper tube? not mentioned in the guide. Will be run through side locker and rear cabin under berth lockers, not through engine space. UNLESS SUBJECT TO THE BSS THEN ABSOLUTELY FINE
2) Power cable - from comments it appears the power cable to the battery is undersized, the guide suggests 4mm² for up to 5m combined run and 6mm² for longer. I've got some 2.5mm² which I assumed would be sufficient - the run will be about 8m overall length(but not measured accurately yet). Run from domestic batteries, 2 x 90ah new leisure batteries. MINE DRAWS LESS THAN 10A ON START FOR AROUND 1 MINUTE UNTIL THE GLOWPLUG LIGHTS THE FUEL. UNLESS YOU HAVE A RUN THERE AND BACK > 10M THEN 4MM2 ABSOLUTELY FINE. MINE IS A ROUND LOOP OF ~8M AND I AM USING 2.5MM CABLE NO ISSUE AT ALL.
3) Do I need to fit the small inline filter as supplied? According to one site NOT suitable for marine installations. I would have fitted it between tank and tap but maybe after the tank is better? NOT SUITABLE BECAUSE OF REFERENCE TO BSS, BECAUSE IT IS PLASTIC. SO WHAT. MINE IS MOUNTED AT THE DRILLED OUT FUEL CAP
4) I'm going to insulate all the ducting where possible. GOOD IDEA - YOU WANT TO HEAT THE USABLE SPACES NOT THE LOCKERS
5) I'm also going to fit an on/off switch in the power line to the heater. I HAVE A 10A MCB, BUT AS MENTIONED IMPORTANT TO LET THE THING COOL DOWN AFTER TURNING OFF. MINE HAS AN INTERNAL TEMPERATURE DISPLAY ACCESSED BY PRESSING THE BOTTOM LEFT BUTTON ON THE LCD DISPLAY. IT GOES OFF WHEN THE INTERNAL TEMP DROPS BELOW 60oC FROM AN RUNNING TEMP ~ 180 - 200oC.

Any other suggestions welcome.
Having just fitted one my comments are above (CAPITAL LETTERS)

Also use a decent skin fitting outlet, and lag the exhaust as it will get very very hot. I reckon at least half the heat energy blows out the exhaust. Mine is running just fine on kerosene. Used about 3 litres after 6 hours running.
 

thegasmannick

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using the plastic pipe is not good practice as all new fuel line`s and gas pipe should be of copper as to the risk of heat and failure this is to bss reg`s for inland waterway`s and any rubber should marine grade stainless sheathed or of minimal rubber lloyd`s approved to allow for flexi connection
which is what will be relevant in a issue with a fault caused and be leakage for insurance purposes

but im not commenting just advising of what i understand the wording to mean
as gas is mainly my job
 

pvb

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using the plastic pipe is not good practice as all new fuel line`s and gas pipe should be of copper as to the risk of heat and failure this is to bss reg`s for inland waterway`s and any rubber should marine grade stainless sheathed or of minimal rubber lloyd`s approved to allow for flexi connection
which is what will be relevant in a issue with a fault caused and be leakage for insurance purposes

but im not commenting just advising of what i understand the wording to mean
as gas is mainly my job

Doesn't the BSS (which doesn't apply anyway to the OP's boat) allow plastic pipe? In the engine section it says "NOTE – the nylon type fuel‐hose material connecting small capacity diesel containers to the cold start facility
on older diesel engines should be considered as exempt from this requirement"
and then in the heater section it refers back to the engine section for guidance on fuel lines.
 

Kelpie

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If using the supplied plastic fuel pipe, be very careful not to let it touch the exhaust- it will melt right through it.
 

MarcJ

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If using the supplied plastic fuel pipe, be very careful not to let it touch the exhaust- it will melt right through it.

That's if it's not insulated! I'm installing a 5kw one in our boat this weekend. Plan to stick with the plastic pipe as I can see the fuel coming through and it's only about a metre run. Will protect it with conduit also. I've had an Eber in my van for the last 8 or 9 years and had to "re-install" it a few times. The fuel supply can be a challenge, if you can't see the fuel entering the heater - you could go on several wild goose chases trying to find the fault. Ideally I'd have the last few inches clear plastic and copper/rubber re-enforced for the rest. There's a diagram showing that the fuel line shouldn't go down. After bxggering about quiet a bit I've decided it should work if more or less flatish with a gradual incline - not critical if it goes down, but best kept as flat or "up" as possible. Ok if you can get the pump properly under the heater - mines going to be about the same height, and the tank maybe a bit higher - we'll see if it works! :rolleyes:
 

pvb

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That's if it's not insulated! I'm installing a 5kw one in our boat this weekend. Plan to stick with the plastic pipe as I can see the fuel coming through and it's only about a metre run. Will protect it with conduit also. I've had an Eber in my van for the last 8 or 9 years and had to "re-install" it a few times. The fuel supply can be a challenge, if you can't see the fuel entering the heater - you could go on several wild goose chases trying to find the fault.

I don't see how you can "see the fuel coming through". It's just a pipe with fuel in it; how do you know it's flowing?
 

Ammonite

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4) make sure you use correctly rated insulation. The outlet air is very hot close to the heater - around 130 degrees on the 2kw model according to the YouTube vids. The exhaust is properly hot as you'd expect >250 degrees so make sure it's lagged properly. If you use a couple of layers of automotive exhaust lagging and run that through some of the ducting you can hold you hand on it even close to the heater.

I'd also junk the supplied jubilee clips and replace with proper stainless exhaust clamps e.g. mikalor. The standard exhaust is also very flimsy so it makes sense to replace with the proper eber/webasto stuff as it's only £10 per metre. It's been mentioned before but Southern Lasers (eBay) make some decent / cheap stainless vertical bulkhead (angled) mounts, marine exhausts etc
 

Steve_N

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I don't see how you can "see the fuel coming through". It's just a pipe with fuel in it; how do you know it's flowing?

As the man says, you can see the cavitation bubbles, produced by the percussion action of the pump, moving up the fuel line with each pulse. (Cavitation and percussion might not be the correct terms, but I know what I mean..)
 

Steve_N

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The standard exhaust is also very flimsy so it makes sense to replace with the proper eber/webasto stuff as it's only £10 per metre. It's been mentioned before but Southern Lasers (eBay) make some decent / cheap stainless vertical bulkhead (angled) mounts, marine exhausts etc

Agreed, please don't use the supplied exhaust, it's too thin and not stainless as we know it and will crack or corrode away in no time.
 

Steve_N

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There shouldn't be any bubbles in it.

There's an explanation of why these bubbles occur on the excellent Letonkinois site. Pictures too.
https://www.letonkinoisvarnish.co.uk/eberspacher_fuel_1.html

Here's a snip:

With transparent fuel pipe tiny air bubbles are usually visible in the fuel as it pulses towards the heater which can be a very useful diagnostic check on fuel flow. These bubbles are created by the pump action and are present even if there are no air leaks.


If, like me until recently, you've not installed a heater with transparent pipe it's easy to be unaware of their existence.
 
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